Making dietary changes is a perfect step towards health. It helps in controlling many health ailments and to keep you in perfect shape. High blood pressure or hypertension is one such condition that can be managed with a proper diet, in addition to the prescribed medications. It is important to know about the hypertension diet and the foods that help in lowering high blood pressure to be able to live with this condition in a healthy way.
Hypertension diet has been long studied and prescribed diet that has shown positive results in many. However, it is necessary to understand and appreciate the importance of hypertension diet and the fact that lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of complications of hypertension.
Hypertension or high blood pressure level is a common circulatory disorder which leads to a pressure of the blood against the artery walls. The readings are the combination of two measurements,
- Systolic- It is the highest pressure against the arteries as the heart pumps. The normal systolic pressure ranges between 110-130mmHg.
- Diastolic- It is the highest pressure against the arteries as the heart relaxes. The normal diastolic pressure ranges between 70-80 mmHg
Hypertension is known to cause several complications and it also increases the risk of other disorders and stroke. If not controlled, hypertension can lead to damage to the blood vessels which can further cause heart disease, kidney problems, and stroke. However, the good news is that hypertension can be controlled with prescribed medications and by implementing hypertension diet that focuses on introducing new food habits, watching portion size and counting the calorie intake.
Hypertension Diet Tips
While it is necessary to follow medical advice and take medicines, as prescribed, following a hypertension diet is equally important for those who wish to reduce their blood pressure. This includes the intake of foods that promote lowering of blood pressure and avoiding foods that can raise the blood pressure.
Here are some effective hypertension diet tips to follow.
Follow low sodium diet: Reducing a small amount of sodium in the diet can help reduce blood pressure and improve heart health. This is one of the main steps to follow in hypertension diet. You can consider decreasing sodium in the diet in the following simple ways,
- Choose low sodium alternative when purchasing food and beverages.
- Do not add extra salt to food; instead use herbs and spices to add flavor to food.
- Avoid eating processed, preserved and canned food as they are mostly loaded with sodium.
Eat beetroot: The high nitric oxide content of beetroot helps lower blood pressure. It can be eaten as a salad, roasted or stir-fried into chips or can be cooked and consumed. Various researches have been done and it has been observed that beetroot juice was capable of lowering the blood pressure in a short span of time. Thus, beetroot, with all its other health benefits, can be easily introduced into your hypertension diet.
Reduce alcohol intake: Drinking excess alcohol can affect the blood pressure level. It raises the level to some extent and also reduces the efficacy of blood pressure medications. Also considering the other negative effects on health, alcohol is best avoided when following hypertension diet.
Take Green leafy vegetables: Green vegetables such as lettuce, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, spinach and beet greens are rich in potassium. Potassium plays an important role in excretion of sodium from the kidney, which in turn lowers the blood pressure. So, include potassium rich foods like green veggies and coconut water in your hypertension diet. It is always advisable to eat fresh greens rather than going for canned products as they have high sodium content.
Prefer Olive oils: Olive oils are healthy fat oil and must be a part of hypertension diet. It is a rich source of polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that help in reducing blood pressure.
Follow DASH diet: A low-salt Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) helps in lowering blood pressure, which is the most widely prescribed and accepted hypertension diet. It has shown to be very effective in controlling blood pressure. The diet includes important nutrients and fiber. It also includes food rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and low in sodium.
The goals of this diet are,
- Limit sodium to, not more than 2300mg/day.
- Reduce saturated fat, and introducing low-fat dairy products in the diet as they are very beneficial in lowering the systolic blood pressure level.
- Eating whole grains over white flour.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
- Eating nuts, legumes, and seeds daily.
- Limit carbohydrates to 55% daily and cholesterol to 150mg.
- A fiber-rich diet
A healthy diet is a good source of a healthy living, similarly a healthy-heart diet gifts a healthy living to us by reducing the risk of hypertension. A hypertension diet is healthy by all means and must be followed to keep blood pressure in control, in addition to advised medicines. Also, regular exercises or walk, adequate sleep, weight management and relaxation techniques can help in controlling blood pressure.
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